STS-135 Atlantis has a tentative launch date

Its official. Space Shuttle Atlantis has a NET launch date of July 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM EDT. And NASA will be hosting one last space shuttle launch tweetup. Registration for the tweetup opens on June 1 at 12:00PM EDT and ends on June 2 at
12:00PM EDT, provided Endeavor’s landing doesn’t cause a delay. Double check with NASA’s website tweetup page to verify this when as it gets closer to the time.

Its the last shuttle launch. Ever. And until we get a new vehicle made, it’ll be the last launch of people for the USA.

Shuttle Launch no earlier than Dec 17th

And Discovery’s launch has been pushed back to a possible mid December launch to allow the team to figure out why those external tank stringers have have been cracking. She will fly, but it will be when she is safe to go.

I still don’t know if I will be able to attend, but if I can I will. I won’t purchase a ticket until they actually set a launch date. Its too uncertain to get that ticket until the NASA folks and engineers are more confident of the cause.

New Launch window and invite!

OMG! All the STS-133 Nasatweetup participants received an email today. If we still have our credentials, and can make it to Florida for the launch window November 30 – December 6th, we can watch the launch from the press site!!!!! Excuse me while I go a bit nuts for a little bit! Woohoo! Yipee! Hooray! W00t!

I do need to temper this a bit. I don’t know that I can take vacation for this. I used a week for the first launch window. And I cannot stay for the entire window. I already have a commitment for Dec 4th for my business. So I need to see several things before I can say that I’ll be able to go down for it. I want to go. I really want to go! But I have a number of duckies to get in a row before I can say that I can go.

Oooooh but if I can, I will!

Uploading pics from Nasatweetup

I’ve been uploading, organizing and tagging the pictures I took while out of town for the Tweetup. This is taking longer than I thought to get the pictures up and turned and tagged. I probably have between 250 and 300 400 pictures from the time I spent in Florida on the Space Coast.

In other space shuttle news, Nasa engineers are evaluating the damage that has been done to the foam on Discovery and the hydrogen leak at the ground umbilical carrier plate. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that they can fix it easily there on the launch pad. Hopefully they’ll have a plan of action by Wednesday.

Launch delayed to Nov 30th

It was another emotionally whip sawed day. We got up at 6am to check our emails and tweetstreams to see what the launch control team was saying for the day. It was looking good at that time. The team was “Go” to fuel the main tanks, with a now 70% chance of good weather to launch. Hooray! So we got ready to go get breakfast and for the rest of the day. We picked up our breakfast vouchers and met up with @planetcomicon for diner food.

The diner, Sunrise Diner, had excellent food and we were very wound up for the day. After we ate, we got on the road to KSC for the program and launch.

As I was driving out, @otakuchick was watching the tweetstream and seeing all the groups’ excitement.

But as we were pulling into the media parking lot, we got the word that there appeared to be a hydrogen leak in the fueling system. Lots of bad news, that. We didn’t know if it was a rumor or good, so we were waiting on more official word. Which did come. We found out it was going to be at least a 48 hour delay, if not 72 hours. Stephanie was totally awesome and still managed to get a speaker to come out to us this morning. Astronaut Dan Tani, who first flew in 1998, and has flown on all 3 orbiters, as well as was stationed on the International Space Station. He was a very engaging speaker and was a great sport to come and speak with us tweeps.

After he finished up, I decided to check to see if I could change my flight home to today. Given that we knew it would take at least 20 hours to remove the hydrogen from the tanks before they could even begin to see what was up with the leak. Then it was probably going to be a very small chance that it could launch in that window on Sunday. I couldn’t stick around for a minutely possible Monday launch. So I decided to go home today.

After reluctantly leaving the tweetup area, we went back and checked out of our room. And let me tell you, the Luna Sea motel on A1A is awesome! I would go back there in a heartbeat, where I would skip the Titusville Days Inn in the future. I was able to get my flight changed to the last one back to Birmingham tonight.

So I’m now sitting in the Orlando Airport with others who are here waiting to go home to Birmingham, since our flight has been delayed 2 hours. At least I’ll be at home in my own bed tonight. I’ll get to see my kitties, too.

I can’t commend Nasa and our tweetup co-ordinator Stephanie Schierholz enough. Everyone who was with Nasa was incredibly helpful and gracious. In spite of all the delays, the entire tweetup staff have gone above and beyond the call of duty and delay to make sure that we who had traveled there from all over the world were taken care of by Nasa. Honestly, I would do this again in a heartbeat!